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Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web Hardcover – 15 Sep 2006

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[Lowenfels'] oh-so-thorough investigation has resulted in one heck of a good book. ... Teaming With Microbes is being touted as an important volume. I agree, not only because the information is, as Lowenfels puts it, 'revolutionary,' but also because he's written it in a style so on-the-spot clear and easy to grasp that my dog, Sadie, could understand it. -- Kym Pokorny Oregonian 20060810 All gardeners who take this important book seriously will learn how to make their gardening practices ... more effective. -- Greg Williams HortIdeas 20060901 Sure, it's a gardening book, but it has all the drama and suspense of an extraterrestrial thriller. ... Read this book and you'll never think of soil the same way. -- Debra McKinney Anchorage Daily News 20060914 [The authors] have done a great job of presenting ... complex information in an understandable form, partly by the use of images presented through metaphors and analogies. But, throughout their book, it is clear that they are 'practicing what they preach' and that they understand the soil biosphere and how to put it to use in gardening. -- Jim Wilson Heartland Master Gardeners Newsletter 20060101 [This] is sure to gain that well-thumbed look that any good garden book acquires as it is referred to repeatedly over the years. -- Frederique Lavoipierre Pacific Horticulture 20061001 This is the most complete book on the market about biological or organic methods in horticulture. ... Highly recommended for all gardeners, landscapers, or anyone taking care of a lawn or garden. Nature's Way Resources 20061011 What you will learn from this book will forever change the way you garden. ... I truly believe that this is a very important book which is foremost on this topic. I feel it should be read by nurserymen, soil and water conservationists, all gardeners, and teachers. In fact, I think this book should be taught in our public schools. -- Eddie Rhoades Georgia Native Plant Society Journal 20061001 This intense little book may well change the way you garden, teaching you to manage your garden soil in new yet old ways that result in less expense and healthier plants. -- Barbara Perry Lawton St. Louis Post-Dispatch 20061028 A breakthrough book both for the field of organic gardening and for its authors. Teaming with Microbes takes the empirically based common sense approach that has characterized good gardeners since time immemorial and provides a solid scientific background for their practices. ... A book well worth owning and reading. No comprehensive horticultural library should be without it. -- Shepherd Ogden American Gardener 20061101 I enthusiastically recommend this book for gardeners of all skill and experience levels, as well as students and professionals in the field of horticulture and agriculture. -- James A. Cox Midwest Book Review 20061101 This exceptional book ... summarizes a great deal of scientific observation on [soil science] and does so in a well-organized and readable manner. There is enough science terminology to provide credibility without discouraging the reader who simply wants to garden more successfully. ... Should be required reading for all serious gardeners. -- Tom Karwin Monterey County Herald 20061202 Should be required reading for all serious gardeners. -- Tom Karwin Miami Herald 20061202 This book gives a comprehensive overview of the soil community and its interaction with plants in a cohesive and easy to understand manner. -- Cheryl Cadwell Barrington Times 20061229 Will forever change the way you garden - I guarantee! ... This amazing book will give a new dimension to your gardening life and you will be forever glad you picked it up. -- Becky Hart Daily Astorian 20070119 The story-line is important, but it is the close-up images of fungi and bacteria as they cling to soil particles that really teach the moral of the story - our soil is alive and we need to keep it thriving. Teaming with Microbes should be required reading for everyone lucky enough to own a piece of land. -- Marianne Binetti Seattle Post-Intelligencer 20070303 Understanding just what is in my soil and how I can improve it finally makes sense. -- Cheval Force Opp Washington Gardener 20070101 Once in a great while, you have a breakthrough book - one that is so unique and of such value to the gardening community and beyond, it deserves to stand out from the pack and bask in the limelight for the recognition it merits. After twice reading Teaming with Microbes ... I knew I had found such a book. It is now impossible to look at soil the same way again. -- Joe Lamp'l JoeGardener.com 20070531 Lowenfels and his co-author, Wayne Lewis, translate the science of the 'soil food web' into simple, compelling logic and supplement the explanation with super-magnified pictures of life at the tiniest level. -- Elizabeth Petersen Digger 20070601 It is clear that the authors' passion and expertise lie in the second part of the book in which they demonstrate how to incorporate this philosophy of the soil food web into one's garden practices. -- Linda MK Johnson Plant Science Bulletin 20070401 An outstanding book for those gardeners interested in a solid understanding of how to create a healthy lawn and garden. ... Authors Lowenfels and Lewis have done a superb job of making soil science and soil food webs understandable. -- Lee Luckeydoo Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 20071001 Reads more like a thriller or a novel than a textbook, yet is so fact-filled it could (and will [here]) be used to base a course on soil dynamics. -- Erik van Lennep Cultivate.ie 20070901 A very helpful source. -- Pat Rubin Sacramento Bee 20071103 Digs into soil in a most enlightening and entertaining way. -- Joe Lamp'l Dallas Morning News 20071228 Explains exactly what goes on underground that nourishes plants naturally. -- Barbara Blossom Ashmun Portland Tribune 20080205 To learn more about the world under our feet, take a look at Teaming With Microbes. ... [The book] makes it easy to understand. -- Penny Pawl Napa Valley Register 20091003 A must read for any gardener looking to create a sustainable, healthy garden without chemicals. -- Nancy Szerlag Detroit News 20091211

About the Author

Jeff Lowenfels is the Cal Ripkin of garden columnists. His weekly column has run in the Anchorage Daily News for over 27 years, never missing a single week. Jeff also hosts a weekly garden radio show. He hosted Alaska public television's most popular show, Alaska Gardens with Jeff Lowenfels. The show was so popular, at one point it ran four times a week. Jeff grew up working on his father's farm in Scarsdale, New York. He helped plant, weed, and mow, and picked fruits, flowers, and vegetables on eight acres of gardens, orchards, and beds. For the last 30 years, Jeff has lived in Anchorage, Alaska, where he has been able to translate his work-filled childhood into a meaningful and enjoyable hobby, founding Plant A Row for The Hungry, an active program that created over 14 million meals to feed the hungry in 2005. A popular national garden writer and leading proponent of gardening using the concepts of the soil food web, Jeff is the former president of the Garden Writers of America and was made a GWA Fellow in 1999. In 2005, he was inducted into the GWA Hall of Fame, the highest honor a garden writer can achieve. Jeff teaches home gardeners about the soil food web with a painless and extremely entertaining method. After just one hour, his audiences know how to return beneficial biology to their soils and why it is necessary to do so.

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will change your life 12 Aug. 2009
By K. JEFFREYS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the first page through the last, this book is interesting. All of the little gardening mysteries that plagued me for so long are finally revealed in this book. I've heard the phrase "fixing nitrogen" for so long but never had it explained to me in a way that convinced me it wasn't just mumbo jumbo. This book explains what that means and why it is so important. I question everyting until it makes perfect sense to me. This book really makes sense. Read the instructions on a bag of organic fertilizer and it often says something like scratch the fertilizer into the top inch of soil around the plant. I always questioned this, because I knew my plants roots went way deeper than one inch and very few of them resided in the top inch of soil. If the product is really water soluable then maybe it will eventually soak into the root zone but most aren't. This book explains that you're not really feeding your plant directly. You are feeding the microbes that reside in that top inch of soil and they interact with one another in many fascinating ways that end up feeding your plant. If you are a gardener with an inquisitive mind, you will love this book I promise. I think the author is also working on a second edition. I can't wait.
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this if you want a beautiful garden, now and the future. Feed the soil!! 15 Jan. 2009
By Southern Gardener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I dislike reading books but I found this book easy and fun to read. There are many technical/scientific explainations in this book but it still makes very good sense...common sense to a gardener perhaps. Through many years of gardening (usually 'organic') I found that a lot of what I have read I believe to be true; i.e. through experience it works! Some of the new things I've learned from this book I've tried and they appear to be working as well.
I'm not an organic gardening 'purist' but I guess I've always taken care of the soil; using leaves, compost, cow/chicken manures, etc. without even realizing how healthy I was keeping my soil. Bottom line...my neighbors can't seem to compete even though THEY try. Hey, I'm just gardening :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book! 8 Sept. 2009
By Otis H. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book helped to fill in lots of blanks for me regarding the soil food web. I am a Master Composter and worm farmer and while I was aware these principals work I was not aware how they work. I will recommend this book to many others and use it to help teach schoolchildren in my volunteer work. Thanks for a great job.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teaming with Microbes 5 Jun. 2008
By Julie Majewski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a detailed description of organisms in the soil, what kind you need for different types of plants, and how to get and keep them. It explains why organic gardening is more efficient, and eventually an easier way to grow. It is well written and informative.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMMON GROUND 10 Feb. 2008
By Tod F. Forman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It would be difficult to resist the clarion call Jeff Lowenfels has issued on behalf of all the animated wealth he has unearthed at garden level. Ground zero is explosive with activity: diminutive, robust and markedly determined though vulnerable, hidden, silent. Microbes and Insects and Worms, oh my!
Healthy plant life is dependent on healthy soil. Healthy soil is dependent on the interaction of a vigorous "soil web". That is a complicated tangle of simple life-forms vying for subsistence, existence or dominance. Out of this chaos come the energy, nutrients and protection that sustain a fertile root and leaf horizon. Who knew?
The soil web has existed for eons but never in anticipation of fertilizers, rototilling, genetic engineering or industrial agriculture. With innocent abandon we commit assault and battery on the land that feeds us [and it took a ^@*$# lawyer to point that out!]. Well...attention must be paid!
This little book pays attention. It's a friendly affair replete with drawings, graphs, compost recipes, a helpful summary and homey photos provided by a pretty indulgent wife.
You might enhance your appreciation by attending one of Jeff's lectures. He is probably on some promotional circuit. Consult the event calendar of your regional horticultural society.
This just may be fertile soil for a new religious movement, a seminal hybrid of nature and science without the blight of divisional rancor. There's just no ground for hypocrisy, apostasy or MiracleGro.
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